5 Key Competencies of a Standout Marketing Professional

The world of commerce is a fast-paced and always evolving world - perhaps especially so in the area of marketing. We would hardly be the first to point out how recent developments in artificial intelligence have shaken up the traditional landscape for professionals in a creative business. Given these developments, how can marketing professionals stand out and make an impact? In this article, we list 5 core traits that can set you apart from the crowd.

1. Creativity and problem-solving

Let’s start with the obvious: success in marketing requires creativity. But creativity does not only involve coming up with ideas for campaigns or promotions: you also need to be creative in your manner of thinking. Can you think quickly on your feet? Can you find new solutions to existing problems? For example, are you able to change course when an idea you came up with turns out to not work well in practice? Can you change strategies in the middle of a pitch when you sense that the client or stakeholder is not buying what you’re selling?  By bringing your creativity into other aspects of your work in marketing, you can set yourself apart as someone whose capabilities extend well beyond just coming up with creative ideas for branding and campaign management.

2. Attention to detail

Most marketing executives will have started their careers as a specialist in a particular area of marketing. Whether you started as a digital content marketeer or a trade and category manager, in your role as a specialist you will have undoubtedly focused your energy on the minute details of your specialization. As you grow in your career, it will serve you to carry this ability to focus on details with you. A visionary who can focus on strategy and commercial targets is great – but a leader who can also think about email campaign design, spelling and grammar of website content, and what fond to choose for merchandise even greater.

3. Knowledge of digital marketing

Marketing and digital marketing become more synonymous every year. Even if you are working on campaigns for traditional media, some insight into digital marketing will be a big plus once you evolve in your career to more senior leadership roles; it helps to know a little about SEO and SEA if you are directing SEO/SEA specialists in your team.
Understanding how digital fits into the omnichannel strategy is therefore a much needed baseline skill, as the overlap between traditional distribution channels and online strategy grows ever larger.

By bringing your creativity into other aspects of your work in marketing, you can set yourself apart as someone whose capabilities extend well beyond just coming up with creative ideas

4. Project management

In contrast to sales, marketing is very project-based – virtually all marketing roles today will involve managing different projects across accounts, products, channels or platforms. This means that besides developing leadership skills, you will also need to become adept at project management as you grow in your career and into an executive role.

A good place to start is to practice time management skills, such as planning and stakeholder management. We discussed how to master the art of planning in a previous article.

5. Business development and lead generation

Perhaps contrary to popular opinion, business development skills are not only important to sales professionals! A marketing professional who knows how to generate leads – whether through inbound and outbound marketing, Google advertising campaigns or social media – will truly set themselves apart from peers. Familiarity with lead generation will open doors for you as a marketing professional beyond just the big corporates. You will be almost universally employable, whether for new and exciting start-ups, scale-ups or family-owned businesses, and in the services, consumer or tech sectors.


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